During this nine-day trip we visited the four Central American nations of Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The trip went very smoothly thanks to the harmonious cooperation of our overseas embassies, the legislators and business leaders who accompanied us, and all the other members of the delegation. I would therefore like to express my gratitude to them.
In the remarks I made at the time of our departure on January 7, I said that we had set two important goals for the trip. One was to solidify alliances and seize on opportunities for Taiwan to take to the world stage.
That is why we met during the trip with four heads of state to hold bilateral talks regarding global trends and matters pertaining to future bilateral cooperation. We also took advantage of our short transit stops in the United States to visit a few companies and engage in talks with some important US figures.
The second goal was to enhance bilateral cooperation, and to show support for all those from Taiwan who are living and working overseas.
In all the Central American countries we visited, we saw embassy and technical mission personnel, people running Taiwanese businesses based in Central America, expatriates, and young men performing their alternative military service. All of these people have been working as one in support of Taiwan's foreign relations.
We saw and experienced first-hand how these Central American countries have emerged from political turbulence and are now moving to tap into their potential for prosperity and development. I firmly believe that our observations will serve as valuable reference for us moving forward as we work to implement cooperation projects that even better manifest the principle of "steadfast diplomacy and mutual assistance for mutual benefits."
Based on this trip, there are two things I want to declare about our future diplomatic work.
First, "steadfast diplomacy" has brought a change to the one-way foreign aid of the past. Now we engage in two-way dialogue and seek mutually beneficial methods, and our diplomatic allies are very receptive to this new approach. In the future, our cooperation projects will not decrease in number; the only difference is that they will be more efficient and will generate more opportunities for win-win outcomes.
Second, with cooperation projects in the future we will need to bear in mind the development of both industries and markets. The world is in a state of great flux. Taiwanese industries need to build up a stronger international presence, and Central America offers good potential. We need to get the most out of our free trade agreements. In the future, we will retain specialists to conduct more thorough market studies, and we will encourage companies to devise strategies that afford more opportunities for cooperation between the two sides.
Now that I've been on two overseas trips, the new direction of our diplomatic work is coming more clearly into focus. We all have to keep working hard. Together we must enable Taiwan to engage with the world. Together we must see to it that Taiwan can contribute its abilities to the world.